iOS 15 is Apple’s most recent iPhone software update. While the release of a new iOS version has become an annual event, iOS 15 includes some notable changes as well as several welcome additions.
iOS 15 is chock-full of security updates, bug fixes, and general enhancements that solidify its position as one of the best mobile operating systems available, especially when paired with Apple’s latest iPhone 13 devices. However, along with all of those fixes come a few useful features, some of which you may be unaware of.
From more fruitful and enjoyable FaceTime calls to easier ways to manage your slew of Safari browsing tabs, iOS 15 delivers the refinement you’ve been looking for while also removing some of the annoyances you’ve probably had.
Tips and Tricks for iOS 15
Here’s a rundown of the best iOS 15 tips and tricks:
1. Call Android and Windows users via FaceTime.
FaceTime was previously only available on iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. Apple’s FaceTime app now works with Android devices and high-end PCs. Users on Android and Windows can now join FaceTime calls via a web app.
You must first create a link for someone to join before you can chat with them on Windows or Android.
- On your iPhone, launch the FaceTime app.
- Tap Make a Link
- The share sheet will be displayed. You can copy the link and paste it wherever you want, or you can choose an app or person to share it with.
- When you’re finished, the FaceTime Link call will appear in the main history list under “Upcoming” calls.
- The call has not yet begun, and it will not until you tap the upcoming “FaceTime Link” call and then tap “Join” in the upper right.
If you need to share the link again or delete it, tap the info button on the call.
Other FaceTime feature additions include the ability to blur your background with ‘portrait mode,’ voice isolation mode, and a wide spectrum mode. Facetime, like Zoom, now allows you to schedule calls so that people can join in at the appropriate time.
When on a Facetime call, you can watch movies or listen to music together. It’s a new software feature built on top of FaceTime that lets you watch and listen to movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, and more while video chatting with friends and family.
To use SharePlay on an iPhone, follow these steps:
- To begin, confirm that everyone on the call is running iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.
- Begin a FaceTime call — either one-on-one or in a group — with everyone you want to watch or listen with.
- After that, exit the FaceTime call (which will automatically transition to a picture-in-picture window) and navigate to a SharePlay-compatible app.
- After that, playing something over SharePlay is as simple as watching or listening to something alone: simply select whatever content you want, and it will play for everyone.
- To control a SharePlay stream, simply play, pause, and skip around as you normally would. SharePlay automatically syncs everyone’s streams, so if one person pauses to get a snack, the movie pauses for everyone.
- Ending a stream has two options: ending it for everyone on the SharePlay call or ending it just for you (allowing everyone else to continue watching).
3. Use Focus Mode to avoid distractions.
A Focus mode is essentially a more customizable version of Apple’s existing Do Not Disturb mode, and it is accessed from the same menu on iOS. Focus modes, on the other hand, are far more customizable, allowing for more granular triggers when filtering out notifications.
To create a Focus, navigate to “Settings” > “Focus” and click the plus button to add a new Focus. You’ll also be able to see and edit any existing Focus modes you’ve set up.
To begin, Apple provides several preset Focus modes, including Personal, Work, Fitness, Gaming, Reading, and others. You are not limited to Apple’s preset suggestions, though some of them, such as the Driving, Fitness, and Gaming presets, offer additional features and triggers that user-created presets do not. Apple’s Fitness Focus mode, for example, can be activated automatically when you begin a Fitness Plus workout on your Apple Watch, whereas the Gaming mode can be activated whenever a Bluetooth controller is connected.
You can create a custom Focus by selecting Custom, which allows you to enter a name, icon, and color for that particular focus.
4. Save time by enabling Notification Summary.
Users have a love-hate relationship with Apple’s notification implementation. Notifications Summary in iOS 15 would group all of the less-useful notifications and present them in a large clump of notification blocks. You have the option of scheduling the timing or receiving the summary every morning or evening. The summary would learn from your behavior and update the apps that require immediate attention while pushing back others that are not as important.
The idea is to prioritize important notifications as a separate class, while all other junk can be consolidated into a single summary tab.
5. Apple Maps
Since its inception, Apple Maps has come a long way (both figuratively and literally). The cities would be presented in a detailed 3D rendered landscape with intuitive tools such as immersive walking directions, new driving features, and the option to choose a preferred mode of transportation.
Starting with a few cities, these updated features would gradually spread to other cities and states, but for the time being, they are only available in a few large cities in the United States, including San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.
6. VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Private Relay is a brand-new feature that functions as a VPN (sort of) for all intents and purposes, but you cannot select a remote server. It works in Safari and encrypts all outgoing browser requests that pass through two servers. Its goal is to improve internet privacy and anonymity. Once activated, you will be able to access all blocked sites that your ISP has disabled. Furthermore, it would prevent trackers and websites from gathering information about you.
This feature is included with iCloud+, so if you have purchased iCloud storage or an Apple One subscription, Private Relay will be activated for you. To check the status, go to Settings> Apple ID> iCloud> Private Relay> Turn ON.
7. Safari | It’s Got Extensions
The iPhone’s Safari browser receives several enhancements with iOS 15, the most significant of which is the addition of Safari Extensions. Desktop browser users are aware that there are numerous Chrome and Safari extensions available to enhance browser functionality. You will now be able to install extensions in Safari on the iPhone as well. It would grant you access to features such as ad-blocking, PIP for YouTube (without the premium), and a slew of others.
Aside from that, Safari will now automatically upgrade HTTP requests to HTTPS, personalize the start page, streamline the tab bar, and provide intelligent tracking protection.
8. Copy Text from Photos Using Live Text
The ability to recognize QR codes from the Camera app without the use of any third-party apps has been one of the most intuitive features of the iPhone. Building on that, iPhone Camera will now detect written text in the viewfinder and allow you to copy and paste it anywhere on the iPhone.
This feature would only be available on iPhones running A12 or later. This means that iPhone X and earlier will not be able to use this feature. Not only that, but it would also work in the Photos app, Safari browser, and so on. The best part is the intuitiveness; it feels like you’re selecting a regular text when, in fact, you’re selecting a photo. In addition, you would be able to detect objects in a photograph such as flowers, books, mountains, and so on. It will be extremely beneficial in your search for that image you took three years ago.
9. Health | Monitor the Health of Your Entire Family
Apple already takes pride in providing a unified ecosystem that benefits from all of its devices. The Health app now allows you to share your health data with your family, allowing you to track the elderly and their health if they choose to share the information with you. Walking steadiness, blood glucose, lab test results, and covid immunization results can all now be tracked by the health app.
10. Take Charge of Your App Accounts
In iOS, you can use Apple’s randomly generated email id to create an account in an app. This enabled you to create an account within an app without disclosing your actual email address. With iOS 15, you can now manage and delete those randomly generated accounts. This feature also prevents those apps from sending spam or contacting you via your real email address.
Hide my email can be found in Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > Hide my email.
11. Offline Siri
Siri required an active internet connection to perform even the most basic tasks, such as opening an app, setting a timer, or turning on Bluetooth, before iOS 14. However, Siri now has advanced machine learning (ML) that can process most commands offline. What’s more, all of your Siri conversations will be saved on your iPhone, giving you peace of mind and privacy.
12. Digital Legacy
If you die, you can appoint a nominee who will have access to your phone data. This makes sense, and it is the proper course of action for people who die in an accident and leave behind a locked iPhone that cannot be unlocked. You can now efficiently pass on your digital legacy.
13. Sounds in the Background
The iPhone now includes a noise generator, allowing you to play a balanced background noise, such as white or black noise, at all times. You can control how loud the noise is when it is idle and when it is playing media. Balanced noise, bright noise, dark noise, ocean, rain, and stream are among the sounds. However, if you find this feature to be too restrictive, there are other ways to generate white noise.
Select Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Background Sounds from the drop-down menu.
14. Tags in Notes
I use Notes all the time, but even I recognize the app’s limitations when compared to competitors like Google Keep. With the addition of tags to Notes in iOS 15, it will be much easier to search for specific notes such as recipes, directions, or secret keys by using hashtags.
Simply typing #tag name into a note will cause it to appear on the main Notes Screen. Then, tap the tag to search for all notes that contain the tag.
15. Cross-App Drag and Drop
If properly implemented, this will be a powerful iOS 15 feature. Drag and drop files, photos, and text from one app to another in iOS 15. Simply touch and hold the file or text you want to copy, and when the pop-up menu appears, drag the file upwards to activate drag mode. Now, using your second finger, swipe to another app and drop the file there. It’s extremely simple.
16. Digital Keys
The most recent iOS update would enable you to store digital keys on your iPhone. You could add your house keys, car keys, hotel key, office key, boarding passes, and so on to the portfolio. The keys would need to be compatible with Apple hardware and software, so they may take some time to gain popularity around the world.
These are some of the best iOS 15 tips and tricks you should try on your iPhone right now. Is there anything important we left out that should be added to the list? Which of these iOS 15 tips and tricks is your favorite? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.